Plus, It’s Raining

I remember back in the halcyon days of blogging, when we participated in lengthy back-and-forths about the unique transparency of the blog genre, about letting it all hang out in full view of the thousands of readers, and about how authentic a blog had to be. I always hewed to the line that blogging can be self-revelatory, but it need not be, and subsequent events suggest that sometimes people are better advised to hold back some of what’s on their minds.
For my part, I’ve held back a fair amount. Readers know that I’m looking for a job, and am frustrated and anxious about it, but I’ve withheld a lot of backstory to those frustrations and anxieties. As they accumulate, it gets harder to not just cut loose with an impassioned self-justifying memoir of the past months — but even if it makes me “inauthentic” when I maintain a moderately calm tone in my prose, that inauthenticity paradoxically bespeaks the kind of guy I am. More times than I can count, my father told me the chreia about the occasion when Epictetus’s angry master punished him by twisting his arm. “If you twist it further, it will break,” the slave said. When his master did indeed break his arm, Epictetus allegedly pointed out, “I told you so.” My dad prized that kind of Stoic self-control; I don’t buy in as unabashedly as he did, but nonetheless that ideal shaped me (and Stoic ethics and the Gospel do converge and diverge in an intriguing ideological arabesque). Whatever may be the case for others, I don’t commend the truth by spilling my guts.
Plus, it’s been raining for the past couple of days.
More positively, the campus shuttle driver pointed out that any December day when the temperature breaks sixty is a gift. And the woman at Famous Haircuts who once (accidentally) whacked me on the head with a hair dryer ran out of the store to catch me and introduce me to a crowd of others to whom she was telling the story. So there’s blessing and sharing, too, in the midst of rain and cares.

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